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Middle School Students Plan and Host Fundraiser for Ukraine
It started with a Social Studies lesson on human rights and refugees, and a teacher with the passion and connections to focus his students’ energy into a community-oriented project. Very quickly, through a partnership with Neepawa-Gladstone Co-op, the students were organising an afternoon of barbecue, performance, and awareness. A last-minute change of venue due to inclement weather didn’t slow them down one bit.
Students involved in the project indicate that there was a role for everyone, whether it was selling tickets, helping with the fundraising auction, face painting, greeting people and giving directions, or being part of the publicity committee, which involved talking to local media and doing announcements during the event. While there was assistance from teachers and parents, especially for items such as contracts with performers and venues or cooking the food, the event was almost entirely student-led.
Representatives from the local Co-op remark on how they’ve really enjoyed working with the students, and how much they appreciate the opportunity to participate in community events. Several years ago, the organisation built and had certified a community barbecue that can be towed to various locations and has all the required amenities including a handwashing station and cold storage to be used for food service. They made it free for community use, and it has appeared at many functions including this one.
One student, whose family came to Neepawa from Ukraine when she was young, was selling pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter eggs, that had been made by her mother to help raise money for the cause. Another table was selling fundraising T-shirts that celebrated the symbolism of the Ukrainian flag.
A highlight of the event was a local Ukrainian dance group with participants of all ages, who particularly highlighted regional dances from the areas most affected by the conflict right now.
The fundraiser was modelled after a similar event held in 2018 to help the families and survivors of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, which also involved a partnership between Myles Cathcart, the students’ classroom teacher, and the Co-op.
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